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Donald Cleveland


 
I live in Lafayette with my beautiful and supportive wife, Leslie, and our two wonderful children, Amelia and Charles David. 
Before I began running , I was one of those individuals that would state “why do people run?” or “ I would only run if something was chasing me”.  Little did I know the joy that runners were experiencing and what I was missing.
My first endurance endeavor began in 2004when I set a goal to run my first half-marathon.  While training for the race, I experienced my first true “runner’s high.”  I knew, from that moment forward, that running was an activity that I would continue to pursue until the good lord punched my ticket.  The race (America’s Finest City Half-Marathon in San Diego, CA.) was a great experience and it left me yearning for more.  With my new runner’s high experience, the completion of a half-marathon, and the mentality that MORE is always better, my life was positively changed forever.
Like so many of us in the acadiana community, I ventured into Precision Bikes and sought advice from the local guru, Mark Miller, about purchasing my first bicycle since the sixth grade.  The year was 2005, and I had not ridden a bicycle in approximately eighteen years, so I needed plenty of assistance.  Mark provided me with great knowledge, set me up on my first “real” road bike, and now I was ready to complete a triathlon.  The first time I took my new ride out for a spin I was convinced that it was broken.  The bike would not switch gears and I just knew it could not be an operator malfunction.  I brought the bike back to Mark and informed him of the problems with the bike.  Mark politely showed me how to correctly change the gears while riding the bike and actually made it operable.  It turns out it was only an operator malfunction.  (Mark must have been laughing profusely and out loud when I left!)  I had just taken a shot to my confidence.  The whole debacle left me thinking “How am I going to finish a triathlon when I can’t even change gears while riding?”
In 2005, I set out to reach my goal of finishing a triathlon.  After riding the bike for a couple months and attempting to teach myself how to swim, I built up enough courage to enter the city  club mini-triathlon.  The swim was a disaster, I got “chicked” too many times on the bike to count(which still happens!) and do not even remember if I utilized my new found talent of changing gears while in motion, but the run was decent and I loved the experience.  After I completed the event, I do remember thinking how difficult it was to finish and pondering how in the world does one complete and Ironman?  But if a short triathlon was good, then an Ironman must be that much better.
Over the next two years, I trained hard and received plenty of helpful advice from the veterans in the Lafayette endurance community.  The advise helped me tremendously, and without that knowledge I would not have been able to progress with my training and racing.  In 2007, I completed my first Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky and the experience was phenomenal.  The crowds, comradery between the athletes, and knowing that our minds and bodies can accomplish anything we desire was very spiritual for me.  

It was not until 2010 that I began to partake in the not so common world of ultra-running.(Thanks to the one and only Smitty Smith!)  Seeking knowledge in unfamiliar territory I sought advice from Smitty, and in only Smitty fashion, he convinced me that I would be fine and could finish an ultra.  That is all I needed, some assurance from Smitty and a new goal was now in place.  (A 50 miler at Rocky Racoon in February 2011) My training was going well, but I was still not convinced that I could complete the 50 miler. I continued to drag my feet and waited to sign my name on the dotted line for the 50 miler at Rocky Racoon.  During my moments of self doubt and sheer panic from the thought of a 50 mile run, my “goal” race filled up and no longer guaranteed  entries for the 50 miler.  Based on some bizarre thought process I decided to move up my “goal” race to November 2010, and I completed my first ultra at the Wild Hare in Warda, Texas.  During and after the race, I experienced the same feeling as I did after the completion of my first Ironman, but on a deeper level and wanted to push my limits even further.  If a 50 miler is awesome, then a 100 miler must be just too awesome!
During the early portion of 2011 I completed my first 50 k at Bandera and first 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon. (Amazing how my goal race grew exponentially in just a couple months.)  Even though it was crash course in ultra-running(Ignorance is bliss!) it provided me a different  outlook on running, and a new perspective of what we as humans can accomplish.

The point to all of this ridiculous rambling is that we were all beginners at one point and only through perseverance, determination, and support from others are we able to accomplish our goals.  The endurance community is a family and every person has his or her own set of personal challenges and goals.  It is immaterial whether one is completing a 5K or a 100 miler, we are all striving to push the limits of our minds and bodies and that my friends is LIVING! 

From a person that once stated “Why do people run?”, I finally know what I had been missing.  Running for me is about simplicity, peacefulness, and that tranquil feeling that overcomes me when I am in a nice groove on a long run and it feels as if I am floating.  My mind and body are one and I can look into the heavens and thank God for all of the wonderful blessings that I have been provided in my life!

Geaux Run was established to assist ALL runners.  Our goal is provide a friendly, knowledgeable , and supportive atmosphere where runners can obtain all of their needs, and of course their wants. (The fun stuff!)  I look forward to continuing our lasting friendships with many, and building new friendships with many more. 


Races Completed:

Half- Marathons- 3

Marathon- 1

Half Ironmans- 5

Ironmans- 4

50K- 1

50 Miler- 1

100 Miler- 1